Come its second season, many shows wouldn’t hesitate to try and keep to what made it successful in the first place. Most shows wouldn’t be brave enough to further explore and flesh out the issues and ideas addressed in My Mad Fat Diary, but then again, you’d be hard-pressed to find another show like it. Simply put: it’s real. It’s honest. It doesn’t shy away from the “ugly” aspects of life, particularly the life of a teenage girl.
Set in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and based on a true story and diary of virtually the same name, My Mad Fat Diary follows the story of 16-year-old, 16 stone Rae Earl, returning home after spending four months in a psychiatric hospital due to a nervous breakdown. Brutally honest, the show tackles Rae’s issues of mental health and body image as she desperately tries to appear as an ordinary girl in order to fit in with her former best friend Chloe and Chloe’s new gang of friends, Izzy, Archie, Chop and Finn, as well as her eccentric mother’s new relationship with recently-immigrated and virtually mute boyfriend, Karim.
Understandably, the first season was Rae’s season. It is, after all, named after her own diary. And while it was incredibly refreshing to see the world through the eyes of a funny, charming and endlessly relatable character like Rae, season two definitely makes use of expanding the world Rae introduced to us in the first place.
In particular, at its core season two is the story of Rae and Chloe; how the audience, much like Rae, completely misjudged how much there was to her character and her story, right back to the first season. Jodie Comer, who plays Chloe, does a fantastic job throughout the last few episodes, where her heart-breaking arc really shines through. The ongoing clashing with Rae and her mother is also at times almost uncomfortably real, but in the end it’s wonderful to see a show focusing almost entirely on female friendships and relationships, no matter how tumultuous.
Nevertheless, Sharon Rooney still shows off why this is her show and why it’s as important as it is. Rae hasn’t miraculously lost all of her insecurities in the elapsed time between seasons, and the majority of the show consists of tackling the fact that there is no magic cure for depression or anxiety. The scene that stands out the most is the therapy session between Rae and Kester in the season two finale, which absolutely nails it on every level.
The show also marks a new development in watching media, with the website being one episode ahead of television each time, presumably to increase traffic on the website and gauge what the audience prefers.
While season two seems to tie up almost every loose end, with a show as incomparable as this, a third one would not doubt be received with open arms. Your move, E4.
My Mad Fat Diary is available to watch in its entirety on 4OD and is released on DVD on the 7th April.